Date of this Version
The study investigates the use of Social Media for information sharing in the management of people living with HIV in Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study were to find out the information needs of the PLHIV, the sources of their information, the types of information shared and the challenges. The study had four research questions. A Cross-sectional research design was employed. Questionnaires and interview were the instruments used to collect the data. Four hundred (400) respondents were selected as the sample, The Director General; of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS was also interviewed. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics; frequency, percentages, and chi-square. The qualitative data was interpreted using narrative analysis. The information needs of the People Living with HIV were health-related. Their sources of information were symposiums, physicians, HIV support groups, friends and colleagues, radio, television, HIV journals, magazines and ARV trial centers. They used Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Twitter for information sharing. They also used SM to share information on health development, healthy lifestyle, preventing infecting other People and preventing sexual partners from being infected, among others. The Challenges hindering the use of Social Media were lack of physical interaction, poor network and invasion of privacy, low IT literacy, unreliable information, fear of sharing fake news, poor quality of video and audio transmission, etc. The National Agency for the Control of AIDS used Facebook and Twitter to share information with people living with HIV. Insecurity and lack of funds were the major challenges faced by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS in information sharing. Hypotheses tests showed a significant relationship between the information sources and the types of information shared, there was also a significant relationship between the information needs and the information sources. On the other hand, no significant relationship was revealed between the information needs and the types of information shared. It was recommended to the government and all HIV stakeholders to come up with a policy that will integrate the use of SM in the management of People Living with HIV, The National Agency for the Control of AIDS should also integrate the use of WhatsApp and YouTube for effective information sharing. The government at all levels should specifically create a library, fully equipped with both printed and electronic information resources to encourage the PLHIV to intensify the use of printed information sources.